(Arutz Sheva / Aug 25 , 2021) A group of senior Israeli security officers and reservists called on Prime Minister Naftali Bennett Wednesday to press the Biden administration to rethink its positions vis-à-vis the Iran nuclear deal and negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
In an open letter to Bennett released by Israel’s Defense and Security Forum: HaBithonistim, a group representing some 2,400 senior officers, commanders, retired soldiers, and reservists, the officers called on Bennett to rethink Israel’s reliance on American hegemony in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.
The letter was released a day before Prime Minister Bennett is set to meet with President Joe Biden, his first meeting with the president since Bennett took office earlier this year.
“In the last few weeks there has been a significant shift in the Middle East geopolitical landscape with deep ranging implications and long-term consequences for Israel,” the officers wrote.
“The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the swift dominance of the Taliban have highlighted the failures of current approaches to diplomacy and military strategy. Absent a new way of thinking, these radical, terrorist factions will only grow and bolster the extremists within the Palestinian and Israeli Arabs as well as the Iranian people.”
The officers called on Bennett to reject any overtures from the Biden administration to restart final status agreements with the Palestinian Authority on the basis of the Oslo process formula, and to work to convince the White House that the approach taken by previous administrations is no longer workable.
“Israel and the U.S. must stop the dated monolithic approach to the Middle East, and more particularly to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Withdrawal and retreat. Those are the stale options that career politicians have been espousing since 1967. They allow for factions like the Taliban to seize control and brutalize their people. Every place we retreat from becomes a hotbed of terror. It happened in Gaza with Hamas and it happened in Afghanistan with the Taliban.”
“When Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin entered into the Oslo accords, the world was a very different place.”
“We cannot just pick up where Oslo left off. In the 1990’s the Arab world was in a state of crisis, especially with the defeat of Iraq, the U.S. was an unparalleled superpower, and the USSR collapsed. And despite the U.S.dominance and interest in the Middle East during those years, all attempts at an effective, brokered deal failed.”
“That world no longer exists, and the U.S. role in the Middle East is not what it was. The U.S. no longer maintains the hegemony of 30 years ago, Russia and Iran are dominating the region, and radical Islamic forces are coordinated, trained and well-funded.”
“Mr. Prime Minister, as a man who came from the world of innovation, why is there no innovation in your political thought and approach to our national security needs? The people of Israel need, and deserve, one message to be shared with the President of the United States – the existing formula for peace in the Middle East does not work. It is time to think of new solutions.”
Furthermore, the officers called on Bennett to remain firm on Israel’s opposition to restoration of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and to work to convince President Biden of the need to scrap the deal and replace it with a new agreement.
“We expect you to make it clear to the United States and the world that Jerusalem is the united and eternal capital of Israel. Opening an American consulate to Palestinians in Jerusalem constitutes a de facto partition of the city and jeopardizes the future of the country. There is nothing innovative or forward thinking about this.”
“Alongside the Palestinian issue, it must be emphasized that a new agreement must be sought with Iran. Retreat and withdrawal is not a viable option – do we need to be reminded of that again?”
The letter was signed by Major General (res.) Gershon HaCohen, Major General (res.) Jerry Gershon, Brigadier General (res.) Amir Avivi, Colonial (res.) Itzik Ronen, and Lieutenant Colonel (res.) Yaron Buskila.
This article was originally published in Arutz Sheva and can be viewed here.